Skip to Navigation Youtube Instagram

" Seek the truth and run from

those who claim to have found it "

after André Gide

Hermeticism as Art

August 8th, 2009

From the BBC website:

A hermit is re-entering society after spending 40 days and 40 nights in Manchester Museum’s Gothic tower.

Ansuman Biswas, 43, from London, chose 40 objects from the museum collection during his isolation, where he contemplated “loss and extinction”.

He posted his thoughts on the items on a blog, as well as practising yoga and meditation for up to five hours a day.

Mr Biswas, an artist, told the BBC it had been a wonderful experience which he hoped to repeat in the future.

“It’s flown by really. I wish I could have another 40 days and 40 nights,” said the hermit.

“There’s so much to do still and I’ve got lots of ideas that I’ve run out of time now to realise.

“Except I could continue to do them in real life, or whatever real life is.”

Human skull

Each day Mr Biswas studied one object from the museum’s vast collection of 4.5 million artefacts, which he had chosen in advance.

He mused on its relevance to the world and posted his thoughts on a blog, sparking debate among members of the public.

The items included a human skull, an extinct St Helena giant earwig and a honey bee.

“The objects have been a revelation,” said Mr Biswas.

“They’ve just opened up areas of thinking and it’s been a chance to really look into different disciplines and different ways of looking at the world.

“So the opportunity and the time to do that has been the most amazing thing, really.”

See a videoclip of the hermit at the BBC site here.

From Artdaily
Born in Calcutta and now based in London, Ansuman Biswas has a wide-ranging international practice encompassing music, film, live art, installation, writing and theatre. He often works across and between conventional boundaries, those between science, art and industry, for instance, or between music, dance and visual art.

He has an established solo practice and also works in collaboration with other artists. He has worked with a range of art institutions such as the Royal Opera House, The National Theatre, Tate Britain and Tate Modern, but he has also been invited to work with many non-arts institutions. Amongst these are the National Institute of Medical Research, Hewlett-Packard’s Research lab in Bangalore, Portsmouth Cathedral and the Russian Space Agency.

Over the last few years his work has included directing Shakespeare in America, translating Tagore’s poetry from the Bengali, designing underwater sculptures in the Red Sea, living with wandering minstrels in India, being employed as an ornamental hermit in the English countryside, touring with Björk, spending two days blindfolded in an unknown place, travelling with shamans in the Gobi Desert, playing with Oasis, collaborating with neuroscientists in Arizona, co-coordinating grassroots activists in Soweto, being sealed in a box for ten days with no food or light, making a musical in a maximum security prison, redesigning Maidstone High Street, being a soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, running seminars on democracy for monks in a Burmese monastery, and even flying on a real magic carpet in Russia.